Editor’s Note: On March 9, 2009, the coordinating group of the Baha’is in Kerman wrote the following letter to Ayatollah Dorri Najafabadi,the Attorney General of Iran, as its final act before dissolving itself on the instructions of the imprisoned Yaran. Iran Press Watch is pleased to bring a translation of this important statement to its readers’ attention.
Date: March 9th, 2009
To: Ayatollah Dorri Najafabadi, Attorney General of the Islamic Republic of Iran
We wish to respectfully express our astonishment at your recent remarks about the Baha’i community and its administrative bodies. The 165-year history of the Baha’i Faith attests to the fact that Baha’is, wherever they live, are solely concerned about the betterment of their world, loyalty to their governments, the welfare of their fellow citizens, and obedience to the just and benevolent laws of their country. This is especially true in the case of Iran and Iranians, who are regarded with utmost reverence and love. You, and other Iranian officials, are well aware of this fact, and must know perfectly well that your remarks were untrue.
You accused the governing board of the Iranian Baha’i community (the group of Yaran, whose members have now been under incarceration for many months), along with all the local bodies of Khademin that operate under their jurisdiction, of espionage. Are mere words proofs of so explosive a claim? Do you believe that the public pronouncement of such distorted facts and accusations are sufficient, when those accused are not even allowed to defend themselves? Do you, indeed, think that your sensible and wise compatriots are likely to accept such claims?
How can one accuse the Baha’is of espionage when they have always refrained, in accordance with their religious beliefs, from partisan politics; when they have continually attested that obedience to their governments is, for them, a religious obligation; and despite the fact that they so fervently adore the country which is not just their home, but also the birthplace of their beloved Baha’u’llah?
These unofficial bodies have simply and minimally been attending to the social functions and the personal needs of Baha’is living in their communities. Their actions have always been plainly visible to government officials and under the close scrutiny of the ministry of intelligence, especially since the early 1990s. In many instances these officials issued their own rulings and regulations about the details of the functions of these very bodies, which were heeded whenever they were not in conflict with Baha’i beliefs.
You are certainly aware how some years ago Mr. Fallahian, Iran’s former Minister of Intelligence, publicly assured Iranians, through every available medium, that all Baha’i activities were under the complete control and surveillance of the government, asserting that they posed no danger whatsoever to the regime.
During all these years, representatives of these local bodies were constantly in touch with their localities’ intelligence offices, informed them of the functions and activities of their communities, and in many cases interacted with them in an atmosphere of friendship and brotherhood.
How then, suddenly, could they have turned into dangerous foreign agents and spies whose beliefs amount to deviations of thought and manipulation of ideas for the purpose of deception, and their governing bodies have become illegal? Do you not think that such comments can hardly appear as anything more than a political ploy aimed at distorting the truth and justifying the wave of persecutions that have befallen the Baha’i community of Iran, especially during recent years? How will you justify your actions in the presence of God on the Day of Reckoning [yawm-i alast, the Islamic equivalent of Judgement Day]?
Anyway, in accordance with longstanding Baha’i beliefs, in order to demonstrate its good will, and in accordance with the agreement voiced by the group of Yaran [“Friends” — the informal Baha’i national coordinating body] who are in prison, the group of Khademin [“Servants” — local Baha’i coordinating bodies] of Kerman is now announcing its dissolution and declaring that, from now on, it has no responsibility towards the Baha’i community of Kerman.
However, as you have asserted, the Iranian constitution confers civil rights and freedom of belief on all individuals. Thus, every individual Baha’i, including the members of the dissolved governing bodies, now reserve themselves the obligation to serve their people, as Baha’i citizens of Iran, in accordance with their spiritual duties and beliefs and guided by utmost truthfulness and loyalty to their beloved country and people.
May through God’s confirmation, and the good will of the justice system, the dark clouds of prejudice be torn apart, the hearts of all mankind be cleansed, and the light of truth and justice shine above the sacred soil of Iran.
Members of the group of Khademin of Kerman,
cc: Minister of Intelligence, Mr. Muhseni-Ezheh’i
[Source: http://negahedigar1.blogfa.com/post-132.aspx. Translation contributed by a learned reader of Iran Press Watch.]